The Gifts of Anger: The Honorable Sentry
A client shared this with me this week. I was grateful, as I am often assisting clients to identify and express the precious self-worth lying just below feelings of anger. Many people distrust feeling angry, fearing it will lead to violence and alienation. When expressed from a need for self-protection, it becomes an invaluable step in self-growth. Enjoy:
If I were to personify anger, I would describe it as a mix between a stalwart castle sentry and an ancient sage. Anger sets your boundaries by walking the perimeter of your soul and keeping an eye on you, the people around you, and your environment. If your boundaries are broken (through the insensitivity of others, or in any other way), anger comes forward to restore your sense of strength and separateness. The questions for anger are: “What must be protected?” and “What must be restored?” Both protection and restoration can occur quickly when you ask these questions. This gives you something immediate and honorable to do with your anger, and with its help, you can easily reset your boundaries and restore your sense of self. All by itself, this simple movement will address your anger and circumvent any need for internal or external violence – because you’ll be making the proper movement in response to your anger. This movement will allow you to speak and act from a position of strength, rather than from brutality or passivity, which is where so many people tend to go with their anger.
If you tend to repress your anger, you’ll be unable to restore your boundaries because you won’t have the strength and focus you need to protect yourself; therefore, further damage will inevitably follow the initial affront. Your anger exists to protect you honorably. If you repress it and refuse to respond to an insult or affront, it is as if your castle sentry is inviting attacks and letting people get away with vandalism. – Karla McLaren, The Language of Emotions